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'It was Balasaheb's Slogan, It is History': 'Thackeray' Director on Controversy Over 'Lungi' Dialogue

The trailer of Thackeray, based on the life of Shiv Sena founder, late Bal Thackeray, has stirred row over its controversial dialogues.


Updated:December 28, 2018, 3:48 PM IST
'It was Balasaheb's Slogan, It is History': 'Thackeray' Director on Controversy Over 'Lungi' Dialogue
A still of Nawazuddin Siddiqui from Thackeray's trailer. (Image: YouTube)
Abhijit Panse, director of Thackeray, based on the life of Shiv Sena founder, isn't worried about competing with Kangana Ranaut's Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi and Emraan Hashmi-starrer Cheat India. He says if a film is good, it will work.

All the three movies will hit the screens on January 25, 2019.

Asked if Panse would like to change the release date of Thackeray -- based on Bal Thackeray's life -- he told IANS in a telephonic interview: "We have already announced the date. We won't change it. We were thinking of releasing it on January 23, which is Thackeray Sir's birth anniversary date but later we thought of releasing it on 25th."

"As far as other films are concerned, every year, more than 52 films are made. So, every Friday, either one or two or three films release. The public knows everything and will see 'Manikarnika...' as well as 'Cheat India'. If the film is good, it will work. As a director, I want all the films to work," he added.

Meanwhile, Bala Lokare, secretary of Chitrapat Sena, posted on Facebook that since Thackeray will be arriving on January 25, they will not let any other film release on the same day.

The film, which features Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the Shiv Sena supremo, has been talk of the town since its trailer launch on Wednesday. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) reportedly raised objections to the trailer, hours before its launch.

In fact, south Indian actor Siddharth even tweeted: "Nawazuddin has repeated 'Uthao lungi bajao pungi' (lift the lungi and *'#$) in the film. Clearly hate speech against South Indians... In a film glorifying the person who said it! Are you planning to make money out of this propaganda? Stop selling hate! Scary stuff!"

Talking about the dialogue, Panse said: "In the Marathi trailer, there was a sentence -- 'Uthao lungi, bajao pungi'. It was Balasaheb's slogan. It is history. He had said it. Even in his magazine, there were cartoons on south Indians. The censor board should understand that we have made a film keeping the character in mind and not the controversy. Balasaheb was a controversial personality. The screening (for CBFC) is going to happen on January 2. Let's see."

But he is not open to making changes in the film.

"Of course we will stick to that (what we have made). It's history. It's all on YouTube and other platforms. Everyone knows Balasaheb's speeches. He used to talk in front of lakhs of people. It's not like we have made new statements. It was his personality. So, we have to portray that," said the director.

The film will focus on the political leader's "struggles and fights". He said "Shiv Sena was not built in a day. The film is about how a common man became a superman".

As a filmmaker, he feels that it is important to present the story to the audience.

"It is an inspiring story. The Marathi (version of the) film is tax free," he said adding that he would discuss with his team about seeking tax-free status elsewhere too.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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